San Francisco archbishop bans Pelosi from receiving communion over abortion support

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is barred from receiving Holy Communion over her support for abortion rights.

Cordileone said in a letter to the California Democrat that she won't be admitted to Holy Communion at Mass. The archbishop said Pelosi ignored his warning in April to either repudiate her advocacy for abortion rights or refrain from using her religion to justify her stance.

"As you have not publicly repudiated your position on abortion, and continue to refer to your Catholic faith in justifying your position and to receive Holy Communion, that time has now come," Cordileone wrote.

He added, "Therefore, in light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco to be ‘concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to [my] care’ ... I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance."

On May 5, Pelosi spoke with reporters on Capitol Hill about a leaked draft opinion by the US Supreme Court, which suggested Roe v. Wade would soon be overturned. "It's very damaging. It does violence to the constitution and violence to woman across the country," said Pelosi.

Friday, anti-abortion group, the American Life League, released a statement calling the San Francisco Archbishop's decision courageous, in defense of "the faithful" and "innocent human life." 

Meanwhile, Democratic State Senator, Scott Wiener, condemned the move. "The Archbishop is trying to bully the speaker into ignoring her constituents," said Wiener. "San Franciscans overwhelmingly want access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion." 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is unambiguous on the question of abortion, both in procuring one and assisting in the practice: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion," the catechism says. "This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable."

"Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law," it says, before calling abortion and infanticide "abominable crimes."

It also declares that "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life."

However, despite that clarity, liberal Catholic politicians have consistently attempted to try and align their Catholic beliefs with their support of abortion rights. Then New York Gov. Mario Cuomo famously declared himself personally opposed to abortion in 1984, but said he could not impose that view on the country. 

But since then, Democrats such as Pelosi have been more full throated in their support of pro-abortion policies. The House Leader has sparred with the Church for years on the matter as she has tried to present herself both as a "devout" Catholic, while also a supporter of a practice that the Catholic Church condemns as a moral evil.

In the wake of the leaked opinion this month suggesting that the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v Wade, Pelosi has not talked about reducing abortion, but she has continued to claim that her pro-choice stance is in line with Catholic teaching.

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.